The best photographs of the Royal Navy, RAF and Army of 2021 revealed

Filling up Big Lizzie, Paras packing a punch and a tearful reunion: Armed forces name their favourite pictures of 2021

  • The Ministry of Defence has released a gallery of  some of the top military photographs of 2021 
  • The images featured service personnel deployed on operations and training in incredibly harsh conditions
  • All branches of the military are represented in the photographs, including HMS Queen Elizabeth  

 Soldiers, sailors and aircrew serving home and abroad have released a stunning gallery of photographs taken on missions across the globe. 

According to the Ministry of Defence, the images provide  a unique look back at the work of the UK Armed Forces around the world in 2021.’  

A spokesman said: ‘The stunning images show the impressive scale and ambition of the UK Armed Forces on deployment around the world, from cold weather training in the Arctic Circle to counter-terrorism operations over the mountains of Mali. From the dust and dirt of a war zone to the gleaming uniforms of a parade, military photographers capture the images that show the reality of life for UK servicemen and women. 

‘Those who capture these images are all soldiers, sailors and aviators first and photographers second, deploying with their rifle as well as their camera.’

This sailor, pictured, was greeted by her family having come back from a high profile patrol on board HMS Defender in the Black Sea in June. Defender escorted HMS Queen Elizabeth on her maiden deployment to the Pacific Rim and back

Big Lizzie, back met her sister ship HMS Prince of Wales, front, for the first time in May 2021. The 65,000 tonne carriers met at sea for the first time in operational service. In future, one vessel will be available for deployment at all times, ready to respond to global events at short notice 

Here HMS Queen Elizabeth conducts a night Replenishment at Sea with RFA Tidespring refuelling the giant aircraft carrier

Big Lizzie’s deployment saw her F-35B Lightning jets, pictured, deployed against ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria during the aircraft carrier’s maiden deployment

Elizabeth was joined by a multinational formation of ships, from left to right, HMS Defender, RFA Tidespring, RFA Fort Victoria, HNLMS Evertsen, JS Kirishima, HMNZS Te Kaha and USS Shiloh

On November 25, a formation flight featuring specially painted Chinook and Puma helicopters flew over southern England. The Puma, from RAF Benson, pictured front, had just completed 50 years in service, while the Chinook, pictured rear, completed 40 years service. The Chinook is based at RAF Odiham in Hampshire

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This RAF C-130J is pictured performing a nose-up break into the flying circuit at RAF Akrotiri having returned from Jordan in support of Operation FORTIS

Here the RAF Red Arrows are practising their display routine flying in a diamond formation during pre-season training in Greece. The photograph was taken from the rear seat of Red 10, by Corporal Adam Fletcher. The aircraft was flown by Squadron Leader Adam Collins

Queen Elizabeth II, pictured centre at her arrival in Balmoral inspects an honour guard formed of 5th Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Scotland, as she arrived at her summer residence 

Members of the military, including a Royal Marines Bearer Party received Prince Philips remains as they were brought to the West Steps of St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle. More than 730 members of the military participated in the funeral, including 42 Royal Navy, 96 Royal Marines, 507 personnel from the Army and 89 members of the Royal Air Force. The Duke of Edinburgh was carried to the chapel on a Land Rover hearse he had designed himself

The Queens Life Guard were photographed on parade at the Cenotaph for Remembrance Sunday, November 14. More than 700 members of the military took part in the commemoration, which also marked the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Royal British Legion

Members of the military were involved in the mass evacuation of civilians from Kabul following its fall to the Taliban. Service personnel, including this Sergeant worked around the clock to assist the evacuation of British nationals and Afghans eligible for relocation

UK Troops were also involved in operations in Mali. This flight sergeant from RAF Odiham manned a machine gun at the rear of his Chinook which was flying through the Hombori mountains at sunset in the West African country

Paratroopers involved in this training mission engaged an advancing force  of advancing vehicles, including tanks and armoured personnel carriers. The troops, from the 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the Parachute Regiment, used Javelin and NLAW anti-tank missiles, 81mm mortars, Grenade machine guns, heavy machine guns and general purpose machine guns during the exercise on Salisbury Plain

Royal Marine Commandos went through their cold weather training with 45 Commando in the arctic undergoing their COld Weather Survival Course   including the need to plunge into icy water 

These soldiers are members of the British Army Pathfinders and were undergoing urban environment training. They form part of the British Army’s Rapid Reaction Force, capable of deploying at short notice

This soldier is involved in a staged medivac from 84 Squadron at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus. Exercise Lion Star was a four-week training mission conducted in a challenging temperature environment

Members of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery fired a 41 gun salute to mark the birthday of Prince Charles on November 15. The six guns fired all 41 rounds simultaneously. The tribute took place in Green Park, London

This RAF AH64 Apache practised dust landings while deployed at RAFO Musannah in Oman during some invaluable desert training 

An Able Seaman, pictured here, was securing the lines onboard HMS Prince of Wales during final preparations as the Ship left Portsmouth Dockyard for its first operational tasking

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